Training Myself Not to Care
New York City is making me hostile.
Given the close quarters and large population, I am forced into knowing, in many cases intimately, 8 million people a bit more that I want to. I am within their conversations, their breath. The elbow pokes on my ribcage, graze of arm hair, the volume of a hundred iPod’s invade aggressively. We’re dulled in a continuum of superficial stimulation.
In retaliation, I keep to myself. If there’s something to do there are too many doing it. All the entertainment and culture the city offers is blemished by it being divided by too great a number. I alternate between fighting to maintain my personal space, obsessively and aggressively, to withdrawing. Both outcomes far from what my natural reaction would be in a more natural state. Those natural reactions have grown sedentary while a more hostile version dominates my tasks. Stress from stress. It is a cycle.
I find it hard to enjoy, thoroughly, in general, many people’s company. Yet I indirectly interact with the thousands I see daily residing and working here. Many boisterous and ambitious, fueling the rat race. Others unseasoned and inappropriate, lame and green who disgrace her with their hometown mind frames. Others histrionic, performing on their cellular phones or for the captive audience of a subway car, their conversational companion a backboard to their jump shots. But others still– interesting, attractive, vibrant, savvy, clever, dapper– mixed in the mediocre. Oh, but the collective jerk New York can be.
Is the varied vegan cuisine, immediate gratification of resources, your glorious backdrop and thumping pulse worth this trouble? Worth this rent? Can I ever get a head of your cost of living to leave? New York, I blow you kisses at the westbound BQE/LIE intersection. From the Kosciuszko Bridge, admire your sharp edges and points rather than the road. You make me 15 again, exploring eagerly, consumed and sustained by your energy. Skipping my classes to escape within your grid. Useless, ineffectual and anonymous again. I’m getting too old for this.